Hart handcuffs Tigers to even series

LSU greeted Florida starting pitcher Alex Hart with two runs in its first at-bat, but the host team's hurler found his form to lead the Gators to a 6-3 comeback win Saturday at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.<br><br> The Tigers could not battle back after Florida erased their lead with a two-run homer, and another two-run shot gave the Gators the lead for good.

Hart (12-1) held the Tigers in check until the ninth inning when Chris Phillips kept a threat alive with a two-out single that scored the game's final run. Otherwise, LSU was baffled against Hart through the rest of the game. He allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits and struck out nine while walking four.

Hart's outing included a stretch during which he retired 14 straight LSU hitters.

Jamie Goldfarb replaced Hart in the ninth inning after Phillips' single and got J.C. Holt to ground out to end the game.

It looked at first as though Hart would have a short day at the office when served up back-to-back walks to start the game. Wally Pontiff drove in LSU's first run with a double, and Sean Barker added the second with a sacrifice fly.

Florida tied the game in the second inning with a two run homer from Aaron Davidson to the short part of the park in right field. His two-out blast scored Ryan Shealy who had singled to right field.

In the bottom of the third, Pat Osborne gave the Gators a 4-2 lead with his two-out home run to right field. Aaron Sobieraj preceded Osborne's shot with an infield single to keep the at-bat alive for Florida.

Florida surge came while LSU struggled at the plate. After a Holt single to lead off the LSU third, the Tigers failed to put another base runner on until the seventh inning. Dustin Hahn broke Hart's string of 14 straight outs with a single to right field but was stranded.

The Gators scored their final two runs in the bottom of the seventh. LSU starter Brian Wilson (L, 7-4) was lifted from the game after his fifth walk of the game put Florida base runners at first and second with one out.

Brad David relieved Wilson but surrendered a two-run double to Matt Goss. That closed the book on Wilson, whose ledger included eight hits and only one strikeout.

David finished the seventh without allowing any further Florida damage, and Jason Vargas pitched the eighth for LSU and got out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed.

A glimmer of hope for LSU came in the ninth innning when Blake Gill reached on a one-out single and Hahn followed with a walk. David Raymer's ground out allowed both runners to advance, and Phillips scored Gill with a single for the Tigers' final run.  

Florida's win evens the series between the two schools, setting up a deciding game at noon on Sunday. LSU's record dropped to 34-17 and 15-10 in the Southeastern Conference. Florida improved to 27-14, 14-9, as both teams remain in second place in their respective divisions.

The Gators will send left-hander Keith Ramsey (6-2, 4.25 ERA) to the mound on Sunday in his first start since throwing a complete game one-hitter at Mississippi State last weekend. LSU will counter with right-hander Bo Pettit (6-6, 3.83), who held Tennessee to two runs over seven innings a week ago.


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